Hi everyone, my name is Keeley and Niraj has kindly invited me to guest on his blog so I can share a woman’s perspective on the issue of violence towards women. Everything I say is of my own opinion and does not necessarily reflect Niraj’s opinion.
It’s been a few months since the horrific murder of Sarah Everard. If you’re not familiar with her story, she was a women living in London who didn’t come home one night and her body was discovered a few days later. She did everything “right” (not that she should have to do anything to not get murdered): wearing bright, athletic clothes, walking in lit areas near CCTV cameras, letting people know where she was…and yet she was still killed.
Unfortunately, Sarah Everard is not alone.In fact, the World Health Organisation found that, globally, 30% of women have been subjected to some form of serious violence. We must actively work to reduce this prevalence of violence against women. I’m not denying that violence occurs towards men, because it definitely does, but it is a lot more frequent to women. This means we need to focus our efforts on stopping this gender inequality so we can minimize violence towards everyone.
I mainly want to take the time to share some advice to the men of the world about what they can do to assist in breaking this unjust pattern.
This violence often begins as microaggressions: small comments that are derogatory or discriminatory that are perceived as harmless. It’s important to actively stop this behaviour in the moment and not standby while it occurs. Men, this might mean going up against your male friends when their “joke” about a woman is far from a joke. It’s starts as one little comment, but can escalate quickly into violence.
Another point I want to emphasize is that it’s not cool to objectify women and it’s especially not cool to verbalize these comments to women. It’s not a compliment, it’s harassment. I don’t know why men think they should get a thank you for letting a woman know they’ve been looking at her in this way and making her feel uncomfortable. Call people out for saying things like this, otherwise it perpetuates the validity of objectifying women.
Overall, actions speak louder than words. Men, lead by example and speak up in the moment. It’s important to raise awareness when these horrible violences occur, but it’s even more important to be proactive and prevent the next one.